Genetics, and more recently epigenetics, has told us many interesting things.
One thing I learnt from a recent discussion in my MA in Criminal Justice – as our module leader Dr Emma Murray debated with her scientist sister combatively, good-humouredly and ultimately synthetically the combining (perhaps, more accurately, the working together) of epigenetics and philosophy in the context of a critical criminology – is that a fingerprint is identifiable because it is made up of what scientists currently see as genetic nonsense.
I find it fascinating that such a societally profound indicator of our identities should operate via an absence of apparent meaning and data. That, in fact, in its assigning of function the idea of a fingerprint makes sense of a location we could term an “information lack or vacuum”: a space, mebbe, which science by itself seems at the moment to find a task too far.
The photo-composition at the top and bottom of today’s post, meanwhile, shows a barcode from an IKEA UK mat bought yesterday in their Warrington store. It has meaning as an object which is recognisably a barcode – yet it appears, as a barcode, in its numbers and supposedly databased persona, not to exist.
Like our fingerprints maybe – and even our very selves?